The Law Office of Kurt H King

April 20, 2020

Workers’ Compensation Cases from the Covid-19 Virus

Some employers may be exposing their workers to the virus without proper protection.  As a result, a worker may be infected and become ill, perhaps very ill or even die, from such increased exposure.

In these situations, the worker may well have a workers’ compensation injury claim to cause the employer (its insurer usually) to provide–at its cost–medical care, weekly compensation while off work, plus an award of money to compensate the worker for his or her permanent disability.   The law also mandates the employer/insurer pay compensation to spouse and/or dependents in cases where the employee dies from the injury, or in this case, the virus.

I handle Missouri and Kansas workers’ compensation claims and would be glad to speak with you about whether you have a viable claim.   These claims are typically handled on a 25% contingency fee basis, so there is no fee unless you receive compensation on the claim.  However, clients are generally responsible for reimbursing the out-of-pocket expenses for the costs of obtaining medical records, examination and rating by a doctor if needed, and the like.

It is important to act promptly as there are time limits that will defeat your claim if you wait past the deadlines!

Please call if you think this situation may apply to you!  Thank you.

Kurt H. King 816.781.6000

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

Practice Areas–Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Estate Planning, Family Law, Landlord-Tenant, General Matters

November 16, 2017

Are Damage Caps Constitutional in Missouri’s New MHRA Regarding Discrimination

Missouri’s amendments to the Missouri Human Rights Act (codified in Chapter 213 of the Revised Missouri Statutes) cap employer liability for damages beyond back pay with interest to a scale tied to the number of employees of the employer.  The maximum tier for employers with over 500 employees carries a $500,000 limit on such non-pecuniary damages–a category including punitive damages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life.  (Section 213.111, RSMo, at subsection 4.)

The question is whether those caps will stand.  Similar damage caps were struck down as to medical malpractice actions in Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers, 376 S.W.3d 633 (Missouri Supreme Court 2012), as an unconstitutional restriction upon the common law right to trial by jury.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068


Personal Injury & Other Litigation, Workers’ Compensation



November 14, 2017


Some current basics:

In general, Missouri law prohibits lawsuits against the State itself and its political subdivisions, municipalities/cities, and quasi-governmental bodies (to some extent).  In other words, you can’t sue the King or the government for negligence or other tort acts or omissions unless he/it lets you–a doctrine known as Sovereign Immunity.

Some of the Major Exceptions to Sovereign Immunity


(a) negligent operation of motor vehicles by public employees; and,

(b) for injuries caused by dangerous conditions on property of the public entity.

3)  And, Missouri Revised Statutes section 537.610 waives sovereign immunity as to the State of Missouri and its “political subdivisions” to a limited extent IF insured by liability insurance for tort claims.

4)  Missouri has a similar statute, section 71.185, which waives Sovereign Immunity so as to enable lawsuits against Missouri municipalities that carry liability insurance for tort claims, BUT ONLY in cases where the acts are those of governmental function (for the public good).

5)  If the municipality function which causes personal injury is proprietary–as a private business would act, for profit–then sovereign immunity does not apply.  City maintenance of a park has been held by Missouri appellate courts to be a proprietary function, as is a city’s provision of water to customers; however, airport security falls into the governmental function category.

6) The governmental-proprietary distinction does not apply to the State of Missouri and its political subdivisions–including the police departments of Kansas City and St. Louis  as they now exist under State law to avoid undue city influence and cuts in funding.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068


Personal Injury, Missouri Workers’ Compensation, General Litigation

October 26, 2017


Marci Gordon of Synergy Settlements out of Orlando, Florida, did fine job at recent Clay County, Missouri, CLE on the subject of ERISA liens and some reduction strategies.   Her business card also lists Medicare set aside trusts, lien resolution, pooled trust services, and complex settlement planning and consulting.

Synergy offices at 911 Outer Road, Orlando, Florida 32814, with a Toll Free line 877.242.0022, Direct line 407.279.4812, Cell 407.620.7471.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068


Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Litigation, General Matters

July 18, 2017

Kansas Under-Insured Motorist Coverage

Under Kansas statute K.S.A. 40-284(b), Under-Insured Motorist (“UIM”) automobile coverage pays only “to the extent such coverage exceeds the limits of the bodily injury coverage carried by the owner or operator of the other motor vehicle.” Kerns v. Alliance Indemnity Co., Slip Op. 79948 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. April 25, 2017).

So, if you carry the minimum 25/50 (in thousands of dollars), your UIM coverage does not pay you a dime because the other driver will have at least the required minimum 25/50 of bodily injury coverage.  Since your $25k of UIM does not exceed the other driver’s $25k of bodily injury, you get zero from your UIM.

(Note: Kansas law prohibits “stacking” of UIM coverage.  K.S.A. 40-284(d))

Even if you buy more than the 25/50 minimum of UIM, it still pays you nada if the other driver has as much or more bodily injury coverage.  For example, if you carry $100k in UIM, and are hit by another driver with $100k in bodily injury coverage, your UIM pays nothing because your UIM of $100k is no greater than the other driver’s $100k of bodily injury coverage!

We wonder if insurance agents explain this to the people buying insurance from them.  If they are, one would expect the buyer to either waive UIM coverage or buy more than teh minimum 25/50 amount.

Kurt H. King, Attorney at Law

20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri


Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Litigation, General Matters

February 24, 2016

Spoilation of Evidence Experience in Clay County, Missouri

Missouri history of sanctions for spoilation of evidence dates back to the 1882 case of Pomeroy v. Benton where the Court fashioned an adverse ruling against a defendant who concealed evidence of damages to his partner.  Many cases since address whether a court should grant an adverse inference or sanctions due to spoilation.

We argued this issue in a 2015 jury case in Clay County, Missouri, the Court ultimately denying request for an adverse inference based on what we believed to have been wrongful destruction of video of plaintiff’s fall captured by surveillance camera mounted on the exterior of the grocery store.  The store claimed to have mistakenly preserved video of the day after plaintiff’s fall, having taped over the day that plaintiff actually fell.  A risk manager for the chain store timely requested video of the fall–obtaining the “day after” video–but the store claimed it received no request for the correct video within the allotted 30 days after plaintiff’s fall.

The Circuit Court of Clay County, Missouri, apparently determined that the store did not intentionally destroy (by tape-over 30 days later) video of plaintiff’s fall, and/or that it did not do so with intent to defraud.

Note that months passed after the fall before the undersigned began representing plaintiff, and no letter issued shortly after plaintiff’s fall demanding the store preserve video and other evidence of the fall.  Such a preservation demand or other duty to preserve can be key.  We know not how the Court weighed our argument that: 1) the store immediately knew of the fall (its manager having assisted at the scene and reported the incident to superiors); 2) the video was in fact timely requested although that of the wrong date actually sent; and, 3) the store knew full well of a need to properly preserve video and other evidence of  customer injury known to it.  However, our impression is that the lack of an early demand for preservation of evidence was not decisive in this case to this judge.  Indeed, other courts indicate failure to have an adequate retention policy may constitute spoilation under certain circumstances.  But this store did have a preservation system in place, that being a 30 day tape over policy by  which previous video is simply taped over on the 31st day absent request to preserve made within 30 days.

P.S.–Weeks after this trial, a plaintiff’s attorney with a similar case against this defendant called for my thoughts.  He mentioned that the defendant store also lost/destroyed video of his client’s injury.  Wonder how often Hy-Vee fails to preserve and whether it is truly accidental?

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068; 816.781.6000

Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Litigation, General Matters

December 29, 2015

When Missouri Claim for Emotional Distress Should Be Stricken as Duplicative

Consider a case where plaintiff sues for trespass and includes a separate count for infliction of emotional distress, with both counts alleging the same trespass facts.

Know that an emotional distress claim cannot be maintained as a separate cause of action alongside the underlying tort claim for trespass (for instance) and recovery must be had under the traditional tort action.  K.B. v. R.T.R, 918 S.W.2d 795, 799 (Mo. 1996); Nazeri v. Missouri Valley College, 860 S.W.2d 303, 316 (Mo. 1993).

Law Office of Kurt H. King

20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068; 816.781.6000

Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Family Law & General Matters

Proving Emotional Distress Where There Is No Physical Impact

To recover for emotional distress where there is no physical impact, the injured person must plead and prove the purported act directly caused emotional distress that is “medically diagnosable and medically significant.” Miller v. Wackenhut Services, 808 F.Supp. 697 (W.D.Mo. 1992), citing Hendrix v. Wainwright Industries, 755 S.W.2d 411, 412 (Mo. Ct. App. E.D. 1988); Bass v. Nooney, 646 S.W.2d 765, 773 (Mo. 1983).  Expert medical testimony is generally required.

Law Office of Kurt H. King

20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068; 816.781.6000

Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Missouri Workers’ Compensation, Family Law, & General Matters

December 22, 2015

Does Bankruptcy Court have Power to Hear Counterclaims in Adversary Proceedings?

If you file an Adversary proceeding in Bankruptcy Court, and defendant files counterclaims for infliction of emotional distress (actionable under state law), read the US Supreme Court’s 2011 opinion in Stern v. Marshall, 564 U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 2594.  There the high court reviews Article III powers of bankruptcy courts regarding such claims and rules that the bankruptcy court lacks power to enter final judgment on counterclaims of that species.  However, the remedy is not dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, but rather transfer to federal District Court (or the parties may consent to trial before the bankruptcy judge).

Law Office of Kurt H. King

20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Missouri 64068; 816.781.6000

Civil Practice including Litigation of Personal Injury and Property Claims, Workers’ Compensation, Family Law Matters

August 19, 2014

History of Wrongful Death Actions in Missouri

Do yourself a big favor and read Daniel Sheffner’s article in the July-August 2014 edition of the Journal of the Missouri Bar (Google search will find it for you), entitled “Wrongful Death’s Common Law Antecedents in Missouri.” Well written with important information.

Sheffner traces the fallacy that began the need for states to pass wrongful death laws. And, he points out that James v. Christy, 18 Mo. 162 (1853), a case decided two years before Missouri’s first wrongful death law, indicates that Missouri COMMON LAW afforded recovery of damages for wrongful death.

Since Missouri common law granted recovery for wrongful death prior to the state’s first wrongful death act passed in 1855, the present damage caps should not apply for that reason as well as the fact that such caps were recently struck down where the victim survived the injury. Why should recovery be limited when the victim dies but not when he lives?

Kurt H. King
20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for debtors, Family Law, General Matters

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